Skip to main content

Full text of "S'ina sapa wocekiye taeyanpaha = Catholic Sioux herald"

See other formats



AUGUST 15. 1910. 


Delivered by Rev Father Martin. O. S. B. on the second; day of the Catholic Indian Congress, Fort Yates. N. D.— 
Sunday June 26, after the gospel of the Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Rt. Rev. Joseph Busch, Bishop of Lead, S. D. in pres- 
ence of His Excellency, the most Rev. Diomede Faleonio, Apostolic Delegate to the United States, and Rt. Rev. Vincent Wehrle 
Bishop of Bismarck, N. D. — 

After having addressed the Indian congregation in the Sioux language the preacher continued as follows:' — 

t'l consider it my duty to ex- 
press a special most cordial wel 
come, in the name of the Catho- 
lic Mission and Missionaries of 
Standing Rock, to His Excellen- 
cy, the most Rev. Diomede Fair 
coaio, to Rt. Re v.. Vincent Wehr- 
le, the new Bishop of Bismarck, 
N. D. and ; to ,Rt. Rev. Joseph 
Busch, the new Bishop of Lead, 
S. D.— BishoD 

attention he is otherwise wont to mews of the total destruction of tied customs, habits and convic- 
giye to Bishops and priests and General Custer's whole command .tions to new activities and to new 
important business transactions brought at once consternation 
in overseeing and ruling the and surprise and greatest disap- 

church affairs of the country, 
and has undertaken this long 
and tedious journey to bring . 
Christ's message and blessing to 
his red brerhern of the faith. — 

point-men t to the War Depart- 
ment and the Indian Office at 
Washington. But, how different 
does the scene appear to-day— 
what a remarkable and admira- 
ble change do we not behold and 
witness! Strange indeed it is 

social, moral and religions ideas 
and views. 

When we commenced work 
here in 1884 we found many that 
had been baptized by the early 
missionaries, but they nad not 
the time nor chance to instruct 
them so thoroughly as to make 
permanently practical Catholics 
out of them-they were practical- 
ly wandering nomads up to that 

When we were assembled in 
Wehrle having j solemn council and Society meet- 
jurisdiction over the northern I ing yesterday evening in the that to-day an Apostolic man of 
part of the Standing Rock Re- 'bowery, out on the, prairie, be. peace and good will should come 

servation, and Bishop Busch yond the mission church, and the ( from our great capitol city of i time, and the priests had io fol- 
over the southern portion of it - officers and delegates of the dif- Washington, wending his way ] ow them, whereyer they went, 
a most sincere welcome also to ferent societies had expressed with a faithful companion, who to d an . y g00( j am0 ng them. It 
iRey. William Ketcham, theinde- their delight of heart in the joy- is animated by the same noble was the general rather discour- 
fatigable Director of the Bureau fiil accents of their simple faith; l feelings as the best and most 
of Catholic Indian Missions in and when the Apostolic Dele- loyal friend of the Indian, to the 

neighboring cities. It is indeed 
a most inspiring, spectacle to 
have so many church dignitaries 
in our midst and an honor relish- 
ed and appreciated beyond ex- 
pression as it never as yet had 
come to any Indian Congress and 
mission before. His Excellency, 
the Papal -Delegate, has really 
acted the part of the good Shep- 
herd, yes — of the very best of 
shepherds, in im'tation of his 
divine Master, he has indeed left 
for a while the ninety nine sheep 
on the mountain to give his pre- 
cious time to the one sheep, lost 
as it were, in the far away Da- 
kota desert, by visiting the poor- 
est fold and portion of Christ's 
flock. Yes, generously his Excel- 
lency has left the sheep in the 
high places, has left behind him, 
as it were, for a while the care and 

the Custer Massacre, had just 
been fought, and the evening sun 
of that fatal June day went down 
and cast its last rays on as dis- 
mal and. gloomy a sight as ever 
was witnessed anywhere or re- 
corded in American history. 
Soon afterwards, as soon as the 
sad intelligence had reached 
civilization, the telegraphic wires 
.flashed the mournful message 
throughout the length ., and 
breadth of the land, from one 
end to the other, and brought 
grief into many an American 
home, when word was , received, 
that a dear father, a darling 
brother, a beloved faithful hus- 
band had been killed by the 
hostile Indians in. the far west, 
thus bringing untold sorrow and 
affliction to .many families^ 
throughout the country. The 

Missions, meet here with 
some even who in those days of 
horror and calamity steeped their 
hands in the blood of the white 
man, but nevertheless they come 
and unite with these savages of 
old, wno are now fervent and 
zealous christians, unite with 
them and their descendants in 
worshipping the great Prince of 
peace before whom all the nations 
bow in adoration, praise and 
thanksgiving, We are then ex- 
ceedingly glad to greet you here, 
Beloved Prelates, who have fol- 
lowed ttie invitation of your mis- 
sionaries to grace this occasion 
by your august presence. 
As far as exterior results are con- 
cerned we have perhaps not much 
to show, we r feel, at' leist very 
humble about it -but our con- 
solation is that the Beauty of the 
King's daughter is within, that 
is, in the immortal souls of our 
Indian converts. To accomplish 
anything Indian Mission work 
must be a labor of love, but above 
all a labor of persevering iron 
patience. It is said that the 
Eastern nations, in the far orient 
cannotbe hustled, and the same 
must also be said of the tribes on 
the American continent, especial- 

aging opinion in those days, that 
no adult Indian could be lasting- 

Washington, D. C. to whom we gate as a true pastor of souls Sioux country in these hot June. \y converted. People, and very 
-really owe the splendor : and im- arose and spoke well chosen j days, that were so fatal to our 
portant significance of this occa- words of encouragement and army in the summer of 1876. 
sion, as he was the originator of good advice, of satisfaction and . And these two men of peace, one 
the idea of this day by inducing gratification to them, and finally ] the representative of the Univer- 
.the Papal Delegate to visit the dismissed them for the evening sal Catholic Church in thiscoun- 
'^North West and participate in with his fatherly blessing, and [try, and the other the head ot 
this Congress— another heartfelt, when the golden rays, of the j the bureau of Catholic Indian 
welcome to Rev. Father Jerome evening sun sent their last greet- 
pf Devil's Lake (Fort Totten) the ings to the parting multitude, 
Pioneer and Senior Missionary when it was slowly sinking be- 
among the Sioux, who in early neath the western horizon, bid- 
days commenced his career as ding . a reluctant farewell to a 
Indian Missionary with the most peaceful and edifying scene 
Saintly Indian Apostle. Bishop —then I say, another picture 
Marty of blessed memory, right- presented itself to my mind, yea, 
here on the place, where we are forced itself upon my memory, 
assembled to day, and which still when I thougkt of the same even- 
shows many marks of his zeal ; ing, of the evening of June 25, 
and energy— a hearty, a thrice ' thirty four ("4) years ago. It 
cheerful welcome also to the In- was then, on that memorable 
dian missionaries from other re-, evening of June 25, 1876, that 
servations and to the visiting! the battle on the little Big Horn 
priests and Sisters from the in Montana, unduly called 

good people at that, told us free- 
ly that all hope was in the 
schools^ with the children and 
younger people, that it was ab- 
solutely useless to try to convert 
an adult, it was labor lost except 
if we would just perhaps by 
chance meet a dying man or wo- 
man to whom we could quickly 
open heaven by baptism or by a 
hurried absolution and Extreme 
Unction, but otherwise it was not 
worth while to try. The dictum 
and conviction seemed to prevail 
in all minds, that the only good 
Indian was a dead one. We how- 
ever, in spite of all things to the 
contrary, thought it would be a 
poor rule that would not work 
both ways, and so commenced 
work, at once both, in the schools 
and in the camp, among the 
children and adults. We 

learned their language in order 
to be able to preach to them in 
their own tongue and to speak 
thus directly to their hearts, to 
gain thereby, if possible, their 
confidence. We kept on instruct- 
ing and inviting them to church, 
as it was our ambition to get a 
dozen or more of well instructed 
"families to form them in church 
societies. It was a work of great- 
est patience indeed. For four (4) 
long years we had down at St. 

Benedict's Mission besides the school 

children only one or two regu- 
lar communicants— here at the 
Agency the same conditions were 
prevailing. But in the year 1888 

ly those in the west & north west we finally .had a number, of Ca- 
— Progress is of necessity slow, ' tholic families ready for the Sa- 
and it will always be a difficult craments, and they furnished at 
task, to convert a strongly con- once also the first members for 
servative people with the'r set- the St. Joseph's Society for the 

AUGUST 15, 1910. 

men and for the St. Mary's Society for 
the women. And as then tbe good work 
was firmly established and the Societies 
organized, the ice seemed to be broken 
and new converts steadily followed their 
brethern into the church, and up to 
this day this following continues, as al- 
most on the return from every mission 
trip the missionaries report the baptism 
and conversion of some old men and wo- 
men, sometimes from 70 to 80 years old. 
Indeed the Dead Indian is not the only 
good Indian anymore, to tbe contrary 
the Live Indian, the Indian who is very 
much alive in the best sense of the word, 
is our ideal Indian now. It is and al- 
ways has been with the Indian also as 
with his white brother, if he is not good 
in life he will not be good in death, as 
our own true and lasting worth or worth- 
lessness only really commences at the 
portals of our Eternity. The pioneer sol- 
diers and frontier men were used to call 
things by their real names and when 
they said, that the only good Indian was 
. a dead one, they wanted to say how dif- 
ficult it was to raise a people from sav- 
agery and heathenism, and bring them 
into the light of true civilization and 
Christianity. Our favorite Indian at the 
present day is the sober, honest, indus- 
trious and trnly christian Indian. To 
make him good in and for life and 
death, for time and eternity, shall be 
our constant endeavor. If the Indian 
was good and perfect already, no cms? 

kept in the different mission houses 
throughout the Indian country, and 
then the real idea of the magnitude and 
the hardships of the work will be re- 
vealed to you. Almost every baptism 
intimates some extra exertion. and sacri- 
fice on the part of the missionary, al- 
most every burial is preceded by a s 4 ck 
call of from 20 to 100 miles distance in 
the summer's heat and the winter's cold 
& storm. And all this means any amount 
of deprivation and sacrifice. It is some- 
times maintained that the life of a sim- 
ple lay brother in his monastery, re- 
presents or demands the greatest sacri- 
fice, as it is a constant routine of prayer 
and labor, and labor and prayer, with no 
earthiy gratification for human nature. 
But the life of an Indian missionary is 
still more sacrificial or penetential. if 
you will, as in it there is absolutely noth 
ing that appeals to mere sensual human 
nature — all is sacrifice. When the 
priest makes his long missionary trips 
among white people he may see mostly 
some little comfort ahead at the end of 
his long way. some consolation that ap- 
peals to his heart and encourages him, 
some gratification that gives him relief 
after the tedious drive; but the Indian 
missionary, as a rule, has nothing of the 
kind in sight before him. If I remem- 
ber how St. Paul in one of his epistles 
enumerates the dangers and perils be 
had to go through in his apostolic life, 

temuted to think that 

him in his faith to the end — often de- 
riving more consolation from the edify- 
ing life of older christians than from the 
young ones, who had all advantages of 
instruction and a good christian educa- 
tion. Indeed, it is my firm conviction, 
that when the angels trumpet will call 
the dead on the last accounting day, 
large numbers of older christian men 
and women will arise from our ceme- 
taries who had sanctified themselves by 
their childlike faith the best they under- 
stood it in the simplicity of their hearts. 
Speaking of the labors of the mission- 
aries, although being counted as one of 
them, I nevertheless feel myself free to 
enlarge on their sacrifice without viola- 
ting in the least the rules of modesty or 
humility, because having had charge of 
a school not so mucn exterior mission 
worK fell to my lot. As a wnoie I en- 
joyed the conveniences and homelliKe 
advantages of school life, which it is 
very true, was at times also fraught with 
great cares trials and difficulties, It 
was selaom tnat I was called out on 
lengthy trips, but when it happened it 
always taught me a lesson. Wneu at 
tunes during vacation, wneu the other 
f atners were abseut on a snort recrea- 
tion or attending a Catholic Congress 
on some otner reservation, I nad a sick- 
call at some distance, Igeneraily received 
on t^e part of tne callers every possible 
consideration, tne best teams and vehi- 
cles were generally placed at my dispos- 
al to make tne best ana fastest time, and 
i-.r tne respective places everything pos 

attractive in God's holy service.— Others 
lent their voices in singing fhe praises of 
the most high in God's temple during 
the adorable sacrifice of the Mass and 
other services. If the cup of water given 
to the wayside beggar wiil enjoy its ricn 
reward, the more so these good and 
humble Sisters are entitled to the fullest 
recompensation for the glorious work 
they have done all these years in church 
and school with most commendable zeal 
and devotion. 

The missionaries of old in all countries 
as for instance St. Boniface and his 
disciples and others had the help of 
picus Sisters, of St. Lioba, Walburgis 
and others— Our Lord Himself appreci- 
ated the services of the pious women 
that followed him witn his blessed 
mother during his earthly ministry, and 
remembered them even in his last hours 
granting to some of them the privilege of 
standing beneath his cross in his last 
dynig moments. St. Paul in his epistles 
also often has reference in gratitude to 
the kind services of good women who 
supported and aided him in his aposto- 
lic labors. Thus a just and merciful Lord 
will also richly reward the sacrifices of 
all religious consecrated to God, who 
worK for the interests of His Sacred 
Heart among the lowly and despised 
who are so apt to be forgotten and 

Let us then all be glad and rejoice to- 
day over this most happy reunion, when 
our Most Rev. Apostolic Delegate is with 
us. as the special reprcsenthtive of our 

tion than his white christian and catho- 
lic neighbors. But as he has not the 
Catholic traditions as we have, as he is 
new iu the faith or has yet to be 
brought to the true fold, he needs spe- 
cial care and attention. But once con- 
verted and brought under the benign 
and powerful influence of God's holy 
grace, the Indian Convert is certainly 
an object worthy of our love care aud 
admiration. Or is. it not a wonderful 
work of God's grace and of divine faith 
to behold a man, who 25 or 30 years ago 
was known as a savage, walking in the 
shadows and darkness of paganism and 
buried in ignorance and all kinds of 
heathenish superstitions and vices — 
thinking of hardly anytning else but 
murder and robbery, to behold this 
same man now wending his steps 
regularly every Sunday to his humble 
mission church to hear Mass, remember- 
ing that it is Sunday, the Lord's day. 
which his white brother often forgets, 
to see this man regularly at the Table 
of the Lord receiving his Lord and God, 
whose commandments he is trying to 
follow now as zealously as he was in- 
tent on their infraction and violation in 
years gone by. Certainly here is a 
change from on High, and if anything 
reveals the power of God's grace, It is 
the conversion of a Savage to tbe true 
and only saving faith. But to accom- 
plish this, is not the work of a moment. 
The results and successes of the Indian 
mission work do not readily appear on 
the surface, but you take the registers, 
records and census books as thev are 

man nature is very much the same 
everywhere, whether boui d in white red 
or black, we find very much the same 
faults *.nd weaknesses everywhere, and 
withapeop'e only newly arising from 
the darkness at d shadows of paganism 
ft e more so, as our patience is thus put 
to a most severe and tryiug test we have 
to be patient and charitable to a fault, 
& therefore I appeal today to the hearts 
of our Bishops here present to be pa- 
tient, most patient, with the priests and 
people confided to their apostolic care. 
The reward of this patience and for- 
bearance will not be wanting as I am 
convinced that in the long run the cares 
weighing heavily on their mitres will 
not come so much from their Indian 
charges as from other quarters. Our 
Indian converts did often not come up 
to our expectation, it is true, but yet, 
when 1 had occasion and still have to 
examine Chr stian and Catholic life 
among our white brethern in the North 
West, I often found that our Indian Ca- 
tholics compare very favorably with 
them. Some times, when I felt discour- 
aged over my school work, it would 
happen that I had a sickcall to the 
Camp somewhere in the absence of the 
other priests — aud when I saw how well 
prepared the sick one was, how his re- 
lations and friends had gathered around 
him and prayed and answered the pray- 
ers of the priest with a fervor of the 
early christians, I returned to my work 
with new courage and love being con- 
vinced that it was fully possible to con- 
vert an adult Indian and also to keep 

accidental mission trips, that my heart 
went out every time in most sincere 
svmpatny to tuose meii, wno nad to 
travel over those roads at ail seasons, 
often with poorly red teams aud in hard 
riding wagons, in the most inclement 
weather and under otner most uninvit- 
ing and discouraging conditions and 

Wneu I mention the labors of the 
priest, I do not mean to ignore the la 
bors and untiring efforts of trie good 
Sisters, who during ail these long years 
nave helped tne missionaries in tneir 
arduous worK in the Indian country, 
bearing with tnem the heat and burden 
of tne day, some of tnem iO, 20, 25, even 
tnirty years. These nooie generous 
souls Uave sacrificed themselves allto 
gether to God for the benefit of this 
humme race. Tbeir pious prayers often 
penetrated tne heavens In behalf of a 
nard nearted people, and followed tne 
missionaries on their long aud ted.ous 
journyes and helped to make tneir efforts 
successful. In the scnoois their untiring 
and persevering exertions day by day 
most patiently tried to form tue character 
of the Indian children entrusted to tneir 
care— very raw and uncouth material to 
begin with indeed — but whom they 
fashioned by and by into attractive civil- 
ized aud christianized beings and use- 
ful members of society proving them- 
selves to those children as their spirit- 
ual mothers in more than one sense of 
the word. Others adorned the 
church and altar with their skilful 
hands making everything lovely and 

Vicar of Christ on earth, and received 
Christ's message from his lips, when our 
Bishops as the true successors of Christ's 
Apostlels, as the true pastors of our 
souls and shepherds of our hearts are 
with us to encourage and inspire us by 
their most welcome presence, together 
with so many Indian missionaries and 
other worthy priests, let us rejoice, I 
say, with all our hearts and unite in 
worshipping the one true God of all of 
us, preparing ourselves by prayer and a 
good christian life for an eternal insepa- 
rable Reunion in heaven, when all, bish- 
ops, priests and people, pastors and 
flocks, will be united in the one fold of 
the heavenly shepherd and chief pastor 
of souls for all Eternity. Amen. 

At the close of the Congress 
the Papal Delegate addressed the 
Indians, he exhorted them to a 
firm belief in all that the Catho- 
lic Church teaches, to a strong 
adherence to the Holy Father 
and his representatives the Bish- 
ops, and Priests and recommend- 
ed to them a great love and con- 
fidence in the Mother of God, 
imitating every day her holy life, 
a great desire of becoming better 
year after year and especially 
not forgetting to cultivate the 
virtue of temperance and sobrie- 
ty in all things.